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Britain’s Best Coastal Views

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
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In the UK, we’re incredibly lucky to be blessed with an abundance of stunning sea views; there’s no denying that as an island nation, our views are hard to beat.  So if you’re in need of a pick-me-up this Wednesday evening, grab a brew and settle down to discover Britain’s top 10 coastal views.

Seven Sisters, East Sussex

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Durdle Door, Dorset

Antony Gormley’s Another Place, Merseyside

Three Cliffs Bay, Gower

Lundy Island, Devon

Seilebost, Outer Hebrides

St Ives Harbour, Cornwall

Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire

Robin Hood's Bay

Robin Hood’s Bay

Neist Point, Isle of Skye

If our blog on Britain’s best coastal views has whet your appetite for a seaside holiday in the UK then make sure you visit our page on coastal holiday cottages, there are plenty of incredible views out there for you to explore!

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Britain’s Best Eco-Friendly Restaurants

Monday, June 22nd, 2015
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We all like to do our bit to help the environment- whether it’s recycling, using energy-efficient appliances or buying organic food to cook at home- but have you ever wondered about how you can be more eco-friendly when you’re eating out? Here in the UK, we have a large number of fantastic eco-friendly restaurants; we’ve done some research and come up with our favourite eco-friendly restaurants in the UK, for the next time you want to enjoy a meal out, safe in the knowledge that the food you’re eating is as environmentally friendly as possible.

Blas Burgerworks, St Ives, Cornwall

As someone who will always choose the burger on the menu, Blas Burgerworks is right up my street. This restaurant prides itself on being eco-friendly and still providing delicious food. All of their furniture is made from reclaimed timber or sustainable sources, they use 100% green electricity, recycle as much as they possibly can and use recycled boxes and napkins in the restaurant itself. Their burgers are made using Cornish meat which is free range, and their other produce is fresh and locally sourced where possible. Described on Trip Advisor as “a real hidden gem”, you don’t want to miss it!

Contact info: 01736 797272; www.blasburgerworks.co.uk

ODE dining, Shaldon, Devon

If you’re looking for a dining experience with ethics, ODE dining is ideal. ODE dining provide high quality regional food, with their seasonal menu currently offering dishes such as ‘Torched Lyme bay mackeral’ and ‘Duckaller farm pork fillet’. They have a strong sustainability policy supporting local farms that have high standards of animal welfare; they will never use factory-farmed fish or poultry in their menu, or use GMO products. However it’s not just the food that’s eco-friendly, the kitchen uses low energy equipment, organic napkins and soya candles.

Contact info: 01626 873977; www.odetruefood.com/ode-dining

Bordeaux Quay, Bristol, Somerset

This sophisticated converted warehouse on Bristol’s beautiful waterfront is one of the UK’s most acclaimed sustainable restaurants. In 2011, it was recognised as a Three Star Sustainability Champion by the Sustainable Restaurant Association- the highest possible national award for general sustainability. Bordeaux Quay have a broad recycling and composting system, use sustainably sourced resources and also boast their own rainwater harvesting system. With the Restaurant, the Brasserie and even a Cooking School to choose from, Bordeaux Quay is the perfect place to head to whatever the occasion.

Contact info:  0117 943 1200; www.bordeaux-quay.co.uk

The Traddock, Austwick, Yorkshire

This family-run restaurant near Settle has two AA Rosette chefs, who make some of the finest food around using Yorkshire Dales produce, usually from within a 50 mile radius of the restaurant. The Traddock uses organic, seasonal produce where possible and is totally upfront about where it gets its ingredients, with a whole page on their website dedicated to their food provenance. The menu itself is enough to make anyone’s mouth water, featuring the likes of ‘Roast rack of Mansergh Hall lamb’, ‘Yorkshire smoked rainbow trout’ and ‘Traddock summer pudding’.

Contact info: 01524 251224; www.thetraddock.co.uk/restaurant-menus

If you do get the chance to visit any of these fantastic restaurants then do let us know what you think! You can do so via our Facebook or Twitter pages. If you’re planning an eco-friendly holiday then you can check out our eco-friendly holiday cottages on our website.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Spotlight on: Bike Friendly Cottages

Friday, June 19th, 2015
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The popularity of cycling in the UK has soared over the past decade and it’s now estimated to be one of our favourite sports, alongside the likes of football, cricket and rugby. The National Cycle Network now passes within a mile of half of all UK homes and covers around 14,000 miles across the UK. Here at Sykes, we want to celebrate our love of cycling and we encourage you to do so too! So today, we’re shining our spotlight on some of our most bike-friendly cottages that are perfect for cycling holidays.

Alpine Cottages No. 4, Yorkshire Dales

This charming 4* self-catering apartment sleeps 5 in Reeth, at the very heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Alpine Cottages No. 4 boasts luxury features including a claw-footed slipper bath and cosy woodburner, as well as delightful views across the surrounding heather and grouse moors. This property has its own secure bike storage area and also facilities to wash your bike. There’s also a wood-fired hot tub, perfect for cyclists to soothe tired limbs in after a long day cycling! There are plenty of challenging cycling opportunities nearby including the Swaledale Circular and Yorkshire Dales Cycleway. You can see more information here.

Wroxton House, Oxfordshire

Oxford is one of the UK’s few ‘Cycling Cities’ and is an absolute joy to cycle in. There are cycle lanes aplenty, designated cycle parking throughout the city and the council are in the midst of trying to make Oxford even more cycle friendly. The surrounding countryside is perfect for cycling too with beautiful scenery, softly undulating countryside and a network of traffic-free bridle and cycle paths. Wroxton House is the perfect base from which to explore Oxfordshire’s cycling possibilities. Sleeping 6, this unique 1930’s cottage boasts lots of charming features including beams from the original Wroxton Abbey Estate and interior furnishings from a typical 1930’s house. The property also offers secure bike storage for cyclists. For cycle routes in the area, please visit this website.

Browside, Lake District

If you’re planning a group cycling holiday then Browside, just 2 miles from Coniston, is perfect. This spectacular holiday cottage sleeps 12 guests with 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, ensuring that everyone has plenty of space to enjoy their stay! Mountain biking opportunities in the area are excellent, with Coniston Old Man, Grizedale Forest and Walna Scar nearby, with shorter routes for beginners and longer, more challenging routes for the more experienced. Browside has its own bike storage available, as well as wash facilities to get rid of any mud your bike has accumulated. The outdoor hot tub is sure to go down a treat too! You’ll find some cycle route ideas to start you off here.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Why a break in the UK is perfect for inspiring your writing

Sunday, June 14th, 2015
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If you’ve got writing that you’re struggling to get done- no matter whether you’re an author, a journalist, a student or a hobbyist- then we have the perfect solution for you.  Have you ever thought of taking a short break in the UK to kick-start your brain and provide you with some inspiration? Here’s why we think that our holiday cottages are perfect for providing a little writing inspiration:

Peace and quiet

It’s a cliché but planning a little quality alone-time is the perfect way to get your writing head on; getting away from it all and escaping the distractions of your friends and family could be just what you need. The tranquillity of the British countryside will make your brain forget about the things you’ve left behind at home and focus on your work instead. So stock up on supplies, book yourself a remote little cottage in the middle of nowhere and get down to some serious writing.

New surroundings

It’s no secret that new surroundings and new experiences can often help the brain along with some new-found inspiration. By stepping outside of your ordinary life with its routine, you’ll allow yourself the space to think and gather some great inspiration for your writing. Live in a busy city and struggling to focus? Head out to the countryside for a change of perspective. If you’re bored of the same views every day, head for the coast for a different vista to admire and inspire.

Follow in the footsteps of your favourite writers

From Hardy to Wordsworth, there’s an abundance of British writers that have been inspired to write their masterpieces by the UK’s landscape. Did you know for example, that Virginia Woolf’s inspiration for To The Lighthouse is thought to be the view from her holiday home in St Ives, across to the lighthouse on Godrevy Island? Or that Charles Dickens holidayed every year in the Victorian resort of Broadstairs, where he would write in the morning before heading down to the sea for a dip? Clearly, holidaying in the UK is a proven way of creating masterpieces!

Book a cottage and get writing!

We have over 5,800 holiday cottages across the UK and Ireland and we’re confident that we’ll be able to find the perfect cottage to inspire your writing. Our dedicated holiday advisors are on hand to help seven days a week, from 9.00am until 9.30pm. You can get in touch by giving us a call on 01244 356 695 or by sending us an email.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Day Out Guide: A Short Break in Lincoln

Sunday, June 7th, 2015
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In celebration of the launch our new flexible short breaks, we’re looking at what you can do across the UK in 48 hours. Today, we’re delving into what Lincoln has to offer. This beautiful cathedral city is jam-packed full of history and culture, as well as offering plenty for visitors to discover and explore, so read on to see how you could spend a weekend in Lincoln.

What to See

You can’t go to Lincoln without paying a visit to the Magna Carta. It was housed in Lincoln Cathedral until earlier this year, which sees the 800th anniversary of the document’s sealing. To celebrate the anniversary, a new exhibition has been built for the Magna Carta at Lincoln Castle, including an underground widescreen cinema. Or if you’re not shy of a bit of a climb, take the 338 steps up Lincoln Cathedral to experience panoramic views across the rest of the city and surrounding countryside. The cathedral itself is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture, full of intricate detail and is well worth a visit, even if you don’t fancy the stairs. Look out for the Lincoln Imp who can be found in the details of the cathedral; according to legend, he was turned to stone by an angel for misbehaving!

Where to Eat

Lincoln offers somewhere delightful to eat, whatever you’re in the mood for. For a delicious three course roast dinner with all the trimmings, try The Old Bakery in the Uphill area, which comes very well recommended. For a light refreshment, Bunty’s Tea Room on Steep Hill is a picturesque, traditional tea room- perfect for re-fuelling with a cup of tea and piece of home-made cake!  If you’re in the mood for something with local dishes, wander down to the Cheese Society Café on St. Martin’s Lane which specialises in artisan cheese and also offers many local Lincolnshire delicacies including Lincolnshire Poacher cheese and Lincolnshire plum bread. Hidden gem, La Trattoria Da Vincenzo, is located in an unassuming building on West Parade and serves incredible, traditional Italian food from a family recipe using fresh ingredients.

What to Do

Recently named Britain’s Best Street, Lincoln’s Steep Hill offers a unique shopping experience that is not to be missed! It contains some of the oldest buildings in the city and is full of charming independent shops, book stores and cafes. So called because of the steep gradient of the street, Steep Hill is quite the climb but helpfully, there is a shuttle bus that will take you up the hill, which you can hop and hop off. Or if you’re more interested on swotting up on Lincoln’s history than shopping, then you should try their Roman Trail, which can you follow using a printed version from the visitor’s centre or via their app. The trail takes you around the remains of the Roman city, which was built between AD50 and AD60, and also to The Collection Museum where you’ll find Roman artefacts and exhibitions.

Book your stay in Lincoln

Sykes Cottages have some lovely holiday accommodation in Lincoln and many wonderful holiday cottages for you to choose from. For more information on our cottages in Lincoln or our flexible short breaks, please visit the website.

 

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.